Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Folks who follow Legal Schnauzer pretty closely might have noticed in recent days that we have a new header. You might say that the header is our "mission statement," a brief summary of what this blog is about.
We recently passed the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, which many churches around the country celebrate with a "Blessing of the Animals" on or near October 4. Francis of Assisi was the patron saint of animals and the environment--and he is one of the most beloved religious figures in history.
It seemed appropriate that the idea to change our blog's header would come in early October. I've never been real pleased with the header we've used since the blog's inception in June 2007. Here is how it read:
One couple's encounter with corrupt judges, slimy lawyers, and incompetent prosecutors in Alabama. . . and how you can avoid being cheated by the vermin who make a mockery of our justice system.
That certainly is accurate. Mrs. Schnauzer and I have encountered "corrupt judges, slimy lawyers, and incompetent prosecutors" and they most definitely are "vermin" who "make a mockery of our justice system."
But there is nothing very hopeful about that header--nothing that indicates maybe we can do something about these problems and the people who cause them. Plus, it sort of makes me sound like a crank. (The fact that I am a crank is beside the point; I don't want to sound like one.)
Perhaps worst of all, the header provides no hint about why the blog is called what it's called. And I am convinced that the distinctive title is a major reason this blog has resonated with more people than I ever dreamed possible.
In fact, an individual who has been the subject of quite a few posts here recently told me, "You know, people ask me all the time about Legal Schnauzer. And I think that title is one reason. It seems to connect with people."
Needless to say, those words warmed my heart. That's because this blog never has been about the anger, frustration, and fear we've experienced at the hands of our broken justice system--although those certainly are key elements to the story. At the risk of becoming overly ethereal, Legal Schnauzer has been, for the missus and me, like a divine calling.
It really is inspired by Murphy Abigail Shuler, the miniature schnauzer who was a guiding light in our lives from the day we adopted her in March 1993 until her death on January 13, 2004. She was with us, literally, through the first four years of our trip through legal hell. She is with us, spiritually, today.
Our journey with Murphy started on a blustery day when we drove to a breeder's home in what might be called the "backwoods of the Black Belt," about 15 miles south of Selma, Alabama. That journey continues now, even though we no longer can rub on Murphy's "brick house" of a bod, or play hide and seek with her, or feel her sleeping between us at night.